Without Prejudice or Partiality

In almost every country today, there is prejudice and partiality.  Prejudice is an irrational hostile attitude, fear or hatred towards a particular group.  Prejudice and partiality can be shown towards or against people of a particular race, color, country of origin or ethnic group.  Prejudice and partiality may be shown to men or to women, to the old or to the young, and to the poor or to the rich.  If you are different from others is some way, you may be the subject of prejudice and partiality.  The apostle Paul was instructing Timothy and he gave the following charge.  1 Timothy 5:21 “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.”

Prejudice is not just a modern occurrence; it has been happening for thousands of years.  The ancient Egyptians disliked people who were shepherds.  Joseph warned his brethren about this in Genesis 46:33-34 “So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ that you shall say, ‘Your servants’ occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,’ that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”  The Israelites lived in the land of Goshen, which was an area different from where the majority of Egyptians lived, because of the prejudice against them as shepherds.  This is not unlike today where there is a ghetto or area where people of some special group live together because they are different in some way.

The Jews in the time of Jesus had no dealings with the Samaritans.  When Jesus passed through the region of Samaria, he rested by a well while his disciples went into the village to buy food.  John 4:7-9 “A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”  Jesus went against the common prejudice by speaking with the Samaritan woman.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the first Christians were only Jews.  These Jewish Christians had prejudice against gentiles.  The apostle Peter was sent to convert the gentile, Cornelius, in Caesarea.  When Peter returned to Jerusalem, he was confronted by the other apostles and brethren.  Acts 11:1-3 “Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.  And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, saying, ‘You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!’”

When Peter was with Cornelius, he made the following statement.  Acts 10:34-35 “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.’”  God is not interested in whether a person is of a particular race, color, country of origin or ethnic group.  He is interested in those who fear Him and work righteousness.  If God shows no partiality, then you should show no partiality as well.  Romans 10:12-13 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”  Whoever comes to the Lord from any group will be saved.  Galatians 3:26-29 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  It doesn’t matter what race, color, country of origin, ethnic group, gender or social standing you have.  We are all one in Christ Jesus.

It may be common to show partiality to the rich and against the poor.  James 2:1-7 “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.  For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?  Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?  Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?”  You should treat the rich and poor alike, without partiality.

Love for others should motivate you to discard prejudice and partiality.  James 2:8-9 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” 

My encouragement is that you conduct your life without prejudice or partiality.  All people are valued by God.  Whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

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